Thursday, September 27, 2012

It Takes a Village

"It takes a village."

You hear this phrase all the time when people refer to raising a child. I believe it takes a village to raise a pregnancy too. These last few months would have been impossible without the love and support of others. Throughout this process, kind souls have kept us going when times were less than easy. Family and friends have of course played a vital role in keeping us sane, but I have found outside communities to be just as precious. Just this morning the Barista at Starbucks, who serves me *many times a week, exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, I didn't realize you were pregnant! When are you due?" I bet she was wondering why I was eating so many pastries. Now, I was not having a bad day, but it also wasn't an awesome day...hence my needing a pick-me-up. However, just seeing her eyes light up when she glanced at my belly made me feel special, and in turn made my morning special. It is interactions like these that make all the twinges and pains worth the [literal] headaches they truly are.

Communities of Pregos

Jeff and I don't have too many friends who are pregnant or have been pregnant, although the list is slowly growing longer (c'mon guys, you know who you are, and you know you want a baby). In the early stages of pregnancy, so many weird things were happening to my body, I felt I had to talk to someone going through the same experience. I turned off my shy switch, and signed up for prenatal yoga classes at a couple studios.

On Sunday nights, I take a prenatal yoga class at Lila Yoga Studio. Although the instructor is not pregnant (he's a dude), he has some crazy knowledge about the human body, as well as a profound respect for life and creation. Going to his studio is quite the experience. Upon entering, you are welcomed by a dog wagging its tail, the smell of incense, candles everywhere, and the sound of passionate meditation music. Honestly, I have NO idea how this guy ended up in Spokane, because he totally belongs in a commune in South America. He goes by the name of Bear, and I'm pretty sure he is able to levitate. And he knows. It's hard to explain, but I feel like he can look at me (and perhaps maybe into my soul?) and see exactly what I need to make me feel better. I have never seen a stronger intuition! His instruction also comes with advice for living life, and you have to listen because he is telling you what to do with your body in the middle of his spiels. At first, I thought this was just a quirky part of his personality. However, his message is finally starting to sink in, and I find myself thinking about his words during the week. When I feel overwhelmed or hormonal, I think WWBD (What Would Bear Do), and am immediately better in mind and body; the tension is gone! I want to write him a thank you card after each class because it is a fantastic way to start the week. And the best part of his prenatal classes: spouses are welcome to join, so it is also the best way to start Jeff's week. Bear doesn't know it, but he is my guru.

Here they are! My yoga instructors/life coaches. Jeff says I should talk more about the dog because she's equally as important. So just know the dog is cool too.

I have mentioned many times that yoga has been essential during my pregnancy. When the hips and joints are aching, a prenatal yoga instructor knows poses and stretches that will make you feel like a whole new woman. In addition to this awesome benefit, each week at my other yoga studio we have "Circle Time." I know it sounds like a kindergarten bible school thing to have, but I enjoy it because each woman in the room says how far along she is, and any ailments she had during the week. Turns out that not only are my symptoms normal, but I also get helpful advice from the instructor on how to combat them.

My favorite part about any prenatal yoga class is the end, where all the women are instructed to lie in shavasana, a pose where you do nothing but close your eyes and relax. Since pregos aren't allowed to lie on their backs (as I learned the hard way), we are either propped against the wall sitting up, on our sides with a leg elevated on a chair, or surrounded by bolster pillows in a reclined position. I can assure you, after stretching and holding poses for an hour, a prego can't get much more comfortable than when she's in shavasana. Since none of us are really sleeping at night, after about 5 minutes you will likely hear the sound of snoring from across the room (or maybe from your own throat...happened). Each time I hear this rumble begin I think, "Don't worry honey, and certainly don't be embarrassed. I know exactly how you feel."

By the end of each class, I feel a strange bond with the other pregnant women; a bond that can only be found when women are going through important, life-changing experiences together.

Another place we found fantastic community was in our Lamaze class. Knowing full well that this was a free service offered by our doctor's office (which is notorious for charging low-income women as little as $10 for their entire prenatal care), I was expecting there to be a lot of interesting characters. And I have not been disappointed. When walking into the classroom, one is greeted by a much different atmosphere: Winnie the Pooh flannel pajama pants, three wolves t-shirts, classy tube tops that do not quite cover the swollen belly, pregnant teenagers accompanied by their moms, thick black eyeliner, the smell of unwashed bodies, the sound of women burping up their heartburn, a baby daddy applying what looks to be Neosporin to a canker sore in the back of his mouth, and the list of quirky sights, smells, and sounds grows every week. True to the stereotype, I saw half the class at Walmart when Jeff and I were shopping for office furniture the other week. And I must say, even though this is not the crowd we usually swing with, they have a special place our hearts. These eclectic individuals are just as desperate for pregnant interaction as I am, and there is a certain camaraderie amongst the husbands. Maybe these couples can't afford to pay for a cat nap in a fancy yoga class, but they are the kindest spirits you will find in Spokane, and together we are all learning how to deal with our fast approaching births.

Actual interaction with someone from the Lamaze class when we ran into each other at Walmart:
Me, "How are you doing?"
Girl, "Great! We're looking for a Diaper Genie, but can't find one."
Me, "I saw some at Babies R Us the other day."
Girl, "What's that?"

I guess Walmart is the only place to shop...

Communities of Professionals

Our office may have an imbalance of female hormones to testosterone, but it is wonderful knowing I have a supportive group of women (+man) that has my back 5 days a week. I may be 15 minutes late to work because I cannot physically get out of bed in the morning, but no one utters a word. I may say something bitchy and hormonal in a staff meeting, but I get nothing but a wink and a smile from my boss. In fact, sometimes there will be little treats waiting for me on my desk when I arrive in the morning, or someone will sneak into my office with a special little something "for the baby." I feel so blessed to have a caring group of ladies (and one gent) who are there to watch over me. And they got us a BOB!!!

Because I wanted to put my music major to some use, I have been leading a church choir for the last few years. Although it has been difficult getting out of bed and driving across town on my days off these last few months, everyone in my choir is so excited for us that it makes the time commitment worth every minute. Having them as a support is fantastic, and I've taken advantage of our piano player's knowledge of all things baby. He is the highest rated OB in Spokane, and his business partner is my doctor. I would have the piano player himself as my doctor, but I thought that change in our professional relationship would be a little weird:

"Hey, could we maybe slow it down a bit more at the rest?"
"Sure! How is your cervical mucus looking these days?"

Okay so that conversation wouldn't happen, but I would still like to avoid talking about music ideas for Lent during a pap smear. That being said, he has given me some helpful advice, and was the one who encouraged us to take the Lamaze class, which Jeff and I are so glad we are doing. I do feel bad for asking him work related questions on his time off, but feel cared for when he and I joke about my growing belly and awkward gait:

Doc: With an approving glance at my stomach. "Getting a little harder to breathe?"
Me: "That obvious eh?"

This pretty much sums up how I feel.

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